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Vlogger's Suicide | 'Custodial Interrogation Necessary To Elicit Truth': Kerala High Court Denies Pre-Arrest Bail To Husband

Hannah M Varghese
10 Aug 2022 7:01 AM GMT
Accused, Surrender, Anticipatory Bail, Kerala High Court, Justice R. Narayana Pisharadi, Direction to surrender, Investigating officer, Jurisdictional court,

The Kerala High Court on Thursday denied anticipatory bail to the husband of a young vlogger Rifa Mehnaz, who was found dead in her house in Dubai earlier this year under mysterious circumstances.

Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas dismissed the application for pre-arrest bail finding that the custodial interrogation of the petitioner was essential to elicit the truth surrounding his wife's death.

"The circumstances that would have led the deceased to hang herself is a matter which could be within the knowledge of the petitioner. The circumstances surrounding the death of the petitioner's wife could be elicited only by custodial interrogation."

The petitioner and the deceased were popular vloggers residing in the United Arab Emirates after their marriage in 2015.

In March 2022, the deceased was found hanging in their bedroom by the petitioner. Soon, her mother filed a complaint against the petitioner alleging that he abetted the suicide by subjecting her to matrimonial cruelty. Based on this complaint, the petitioner was booked under sections 498A and 306 of IPC.

The deceased was buried in India, but her body was exhumed after her family raised doubts over her death. Nevertheless, the post-mortem confirmed that her death was caused by suicide.

The prosecution case is that on March 1, the deceased hanged herself immediately after the petitioner walked out of their bedroom. Therefore, the petitioner is alleged to have subjected his wife to cruelty prior to her death and also abetted the commission of suicide.

Advocate Rajee P. Mathews appearing for the petitioner contended that he has been falsely arrayed as an accused. According to him, the petitioner and the deceased had a very loving marital life and she died by suicide for reasons unknown to the petitioner. It was further pointed out that there was never any occasion of cruelty or abetment for the commission of suicide, and therefore, the custodial interrogation of the petitioner is not essential.

The counsel also submitted that the petitioner has doubts about the involvement of two other persons whose conduct arose suspicion and that there was no other identifiable reason for his wife to commit suicide.

Public Prosecutor K. A.Naushad opposed the application and contended that the investigation conducted so far has revealed instances which point towards abetment of the commission of suicide and cruel treatment by the petitioner and therefore, custodial interrogation is essential.

Advocate Rameez Nooh appeared on behalf of the mother of the deceased and contended that her daughter was subjected to matrimonial cruelty due to which she committed suicide. It was argued that the deceased was well-known amongst the youth and there was no reason for her to commit suicide other than the cruelty inflicted by her husband.

Considering the statement of witnesses, as seen from the case diary, and on an appreciation of the circumstances surrounding the case, The Court took the view that this is not a fit case where pre-arrest bail could be granted.

Finding that the custodial interrogation of the petitioner was essential, the Judge was not inclined to allow the bail application and the same was accordingly dismissed.

Case Title: Mahanas Moidu v. State of Kerala

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 422

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

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